Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Machine Sewing for Kids

A while back, I posted a review of Sewing School, published by Storey Books.  I really liked all of the projects and tips the book included about how to begin teaching children how to sew.  Sewing School focuses on hand sewing.  Many of the reviews for that book included comments from readers wishing for more machine sewing projects to do with kids.  

So, the authors of Sewing SchoolAndria Lisle and Amie Plumley, wrote a sequel--Sewing School 2.  
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I had a chance to look at an ebook copy of it.  I really like it!  But, before I go any farther describing this book, I want to mention that I WOULD NOT purchase a kindle edition of this book unless you are going to be looking at it on your computer (not on a kindle). Even then, this is one of those books that will be much, much easier to use in print than electronically.

My daughter, Sami, has been asking since last week to learn how to sew on my machine.  She even bought a kids' machine at a garage sale, which didn't work.  Because she wants to so much, I have promised that I would teach her.  I have to admit, though, that I was at a bit of a loss as to where to start and what to make.  This book will make it simple for me.

The book starts off which what supplies are needed.  It explains all the different parts of a sewing machine and gives good safety tips.  There are a bunch of simple sewing projects (like bags, organizers, a scarf, decorations, a pillow, and more...) that you can use scrap material around your house to make.  Yay!  I love crafts that we can make with things we already have.  

I think the authors have done a great job writing a book to teach kids  how to sew with a sewing machine (and guide their parents)!  There is one minor thing that I wish there was more information about in this book.      
That topic is choosing a sewing machine for a child.  I have been told that children's sewing machines are a waste of money.  But, what is the best basic sewing machine for them to learn on?

Books often help pave the way for me.  They make a project seem doable when it seems formidable to me and I'm not sure where to start.  Sewing School 2 is just that kind of book for me and my family! 

Please note that I received a complimentary ebook copy of this book for review from Storey Books.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Homemade Muffin-Doughnuts

Last week, most of my family was sick--2 kids and one husband--all sick.  One little boy and me stayed well.  So, one morning I tried a new recipe. They were wonderful!  They tasted just like homemade cinnamon sugar cake doughnuts, except that they looked like muffins!

The recipe I used called for a mini-muffin tin, but I don't have one.   So, I set about changing the recipe I found and this is the recipe I ended up with...

Homemade Muffin-Doughnuts
Makes 24 muffins

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. flour 
1 cup whole wheat flour-- or simply add 1 more cup of white flour
3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup butter, melted 
1 1/3 cup milk
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat oven to 425. Combine melted butter and milk in mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add all dry ingredients. Stir until batter is just combined with no lumps. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray--don't use cupcake papers.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Depending on your oven, test them at 12 or 13 minutes to see if a toothpick comes out clean.  From there, add 2 or 3 minutes at a time until the muffins are golden and the toothpick comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool.  This is a must!!  Melt some butter in a small dish.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a plastic bag. After muffins have cooled, take them out of the pan. Then, brush them with butter and put them in a bag with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Move the muffin gently in the bag to coat the muffin well.  Repeat with each muffin individually.  Don't coat more than one at a time.  

My husband and I were surprised at how good these muffins were!  As close to homemade doughnuts as I've ever gotten.  I'm going to use this technique with other muffins perhaps.  Brushing them with butter and then tossing with cinnamon sugar.  I suspect it would also work with powdered sugar!

This will definitely be added to our muffin and breakfast treat choices!

Chipotle Style Carnitas Tacos

My husband loves the Carnitas Tacos at Chipotle.  So, that was his request for Father's Day.  Good pulled pork tacos.  I've posted a recipe before that I love for BBQ Pulled Pork.  But, my husband wanted a pulled pork that would work better with tacos.  So, I went searching....

I found this recipe on Chow Hound  HERE

I got up early Sunday morning to get the pork ready only to discover that my roast hadn't fully defrosted!  Ugh!!  At 6 am, I ran out to the grocery store to get a new one.  I had learned you can't substitute a pork tenderloin or pork chops from the butcher at the grocery store.  So, I made sure to get the right cut of pork.  I returned within a half hour and set to work getting it ready.  It was quite an easy recipe.    I placed the onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot.  Then, made the rub and rubbed it all over the pork butt roast.  This was the first time I have fixed a pork butt roast.    I did not add the BBQ sauce at the end.  

I had no idea how much it would make, so I did fix two 3 1/2 pound roasts.   One would have been enough for my family.  I put them in my large crock pot on high for seven hours and it was done.  I did multiply the ingredients in the recipe 1 1/2 times since I was cooking more pork than the recipe calls for.  My husband said it was the best pulled pork I've made.  He much preferred it to the other recipe that I made before.  

I served it with salsa (Santa Barbara's Peach Mango Salsa from Costco or ShopRite), guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded jack cheese, sliced olives, minced red onion, crispy and flour tortillas,  and refried beans.  

My husband was very happy with his Father's Day Meal!